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The Cultural Frontline


The world seen through the eyes of artists

The world seen through the eyes of artists


United Kingdom




The world seen through the eyes of artists




Chen Qiufan: China’s Master of Science Fiction

A man comes out of isolation and walks in a trance through the centre of Shanghai, marvelling at an empty shopping mall and the changes he sees around him. It sounds like a news report but it’s actually the plot of an eerie sci-fi short story written by Chinese author Chen Qiufan (also known as Stanley Chan) last year. He speaks to Tina about his new work and life imitating art in science fiction. How is COVID-19 influencing artists? The Singaporean art collective PHUNK, tells us about...


Ilaria Bernardini: My Country Under Lockdown

As countries around the world face up to the challenge of the coronavirus we hear how life and culture are changing in Milan, Italy. The Italian author and screenwriter Ilaria Bernardini, reflects on how musicians, poets, writers and even chefs, are uniting to bring hope during an uncertain time. For the Lebanese poet, Zeina Hashem Beck poetry is how she channels her creative energy, her emotions and her questions. She talks to Tina about how a sense of place and particularly the cities of...


Cloud Gate Dance Theatre: From the streets to the stage

From selling slippers on the streets of Taipei as a child to running a world class dance company, we meet the new artistic director of Cloud Gate. Choreographer Cheng Tsung-lung tells us how he transformed his childhood experiences into a sensory explosion of sound, neon light and spectacular movement on stage in the latest production 13 Tongues. Two dancers on a mission to replace caricature with character. Georgina Pazcoguin and Phil Chan of the campaign group Final Bow for Yellowface tell...


Kitty Green: Film-making in the age of #Metoo

As the world reacts to the guilty verdicts against the former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein we speak to directors, actors and producers about creating film in the age of #Metoo. A young woman who works for a media mogul and the degrading climate he's created at the office. That’s the subject of the latest film by the acclaimed Australian writer and director Kitty Green. She talks to Tina Daheley about the challenges and the real life inspirations behind her new drama, The Assistant. In...


Sir Steve McQueen: Great British artist

The working class London kid who became an Oscar winning director, the artistic maverick who became a knight of the realm. Tina Daheley speaks to Sir Steve McQueen about the influences that turned him into one of Britain’s greatest living artists as a career spanning exhibition of his work opens at London’s Tate Modern gallery. Plus the visionary Iranian film-maker and artist Shirin Neshat talks about her latest work, Land of Dreams. She reveals why she has turned her lens to Trump’s...


Ana Tijoux: Rapping to change Chile

Described as Chile’s answer to Lauryn Hill, Chilean hip hop em cee Ana Tjoux has made her name rapping against inequality. Ana tells Tina about her recent track #cacerolazo, which became an anthem for the 2019 protests in Chile. The soundtrack of the demonstrations, wooden spoons drummed on pans, form the beat beneath her words. Taking extreme risks for his rhymes, Iraqi rapper Mr Guti continues to make music about his city, Basra, despite several threats to his life. Drawing attention to...


Cho Nam-Joo: The untold story of Korean women

As the rise of feminism and the #MeToo movement continue to make a big impact in Korean society, we meet the women who are defying tradition in order to write their own narratives with their art. Cho Nam-Joo is the author behind the controversial novel, Kim Jiyoung, born 1982, at the centre of Korea’s new feminist struggle. She discusses how her book sparked a national discussion and why she’s telling the story of a very ordinary woman in order to challenge the country’s restrictive gender...


Lee Tzu-Tung: Taiwan’s political artist

Can art heal divisions in Taiwan? The political activist and conceptual artist Lee Tzu-Tung reflects on Taiwan’s political past and gives her vision of how art can play a role in creating a better future for all its citizens. We discover the songs that have formed the soundtrack to a city at protest. The writer and journalist Vivienne Chow reveals why pro-government and opposition groups are creating new music in the battle for the political future of the Hong Kong. Can you find laughs at a...


Njambi McGrath: My family story through comedy

From the villages of rural Kenya to starring on some of British comedy’s biggest stages. The comedian Njambi McGrath tells Tina how when she takes to the stage she is not just telling her own story but the story of a family and a country devastated by the impact of colonialism. Has a song, a film or a book ever changed the way you see the world? The American stand-up and actor Rob Delaney on how reading the work of graphic novelist Phoebe Gloeckner was a turning point in his life. Indian...


Jenny Slate: Writing my fear

Can you create great art out of fear and anxiety? The American comedian Jenny Slate reveals how she was driven to write a weird and wonderful collection of essays by despair, divorce and the election of Donald Trump. The award-winning writer Jeet Thayil talks to Tina about grappling with grief in his latest book, the darkly comic yet personal novel Low. It’s a work which draws on Jeet’s own feelings of grief, as the central character embarks on a rollercoaster of a weekend in Bombay in an...


Inside and out: Digital experiences of the body

What happens when digital technology and our bodies start to merge? Zoë Comyns meet artists who are growing body parts with human cells, implanting technology into their bodies and questioning whether we can have meaningful relationships with sex robots. She will also meet an artist who exists only in the digital realm. Amy Karle has been named one of the most influential women in 3D printing. Born with a rare skin condition, she grew up fascinated by technology and how it can be used to...


Work-Life: a provocative new drama about our near future

How would you feel if a robot took your job? That’s the question at the heart of a new play exploring how work place pressures spill over into our family relationships. Katy works long hours at the local warehouse with no one to talk to but her new colleague, a machine. She then unexpectedly loses her job. Will she fight to get her role back or pursue a new career for a cause she can believe in? The Cultural Frontline presents the radio premiere of the play, Work-Life by Diane Stewart...


Antonio Sanchez: Jazz across borders

Antonio Sanchez was born in Mexico City, before moving to the US to study music. Fast forward three decades and the jazz drummer has won four Grammys and composed the soundtrack for Oscar winning film Birdman. Now a dual Mexican-American citizen, Antonio has been outspoken in his criticism of President Trump’s comments about migrants and controversial policies on those caught crossing the US-Mexico border. He tells us how these issues have found their way onto his latest album, Lines in the...


Murad Subay: The walls remember

When war broke out in Yemen, Murad Subay began painting murals on the shelled and bullet-marked buildings of his home city of Sana’a. His colourful messages of protest and hope raised awareness of the conflict’s impact on Yemeni civilians. He encouraged passers by to join him as he worked, and together they filled ruined homes with images of peace. Journalist Sumaya Bakhsh traces Murad’s journey as he leaves Sana’a for Cairo. International travel is rarely simple for citizens of Yemen, and...


Meet Dimash, Central Asia’s Biggest Pop Star

Sell out tours, millions of social media followers and adoring fans across the globe. Welcome to the world of Dimash, Central Asia’s biggest pop star. We find out how he went from a child singer to a pioneer of pop music and why he is trying to change the world’s perception of his home country, Kazakhstan. Has a song, a book, a work of art ever changed the way you see the world? Zandra Rhodes, one of British fashion’s leading trend setters, reveals why the work of the artist Duggie Fields...


House of Kenzo, Art Collective

House of Kenzo are the underground dance collective revolutionising Texan nightlife. We join Breezy, Roxy, Flo, Gemel and Toni over a weekend, as they perform at the opening of a queer film festival in Austin and in their hometown of San Antonio. Each performance is a conceptual piece of artwork with built in messages of radical self-expression, body positivity, ecology and community. Constructing a DIY stage on the dancefloor, House of Kenzo blend jaw-dropping dance moves - voguing,...